“A joy for the country”, Colombian President Gustavo Pedro rejoiced on Wednesday, announcing the safe and sound discovery of four children, including an eleven-month-old baby, who survived alone in the Amazon jungle for more than 15 days after the accident. They were traveling with their mother on the small plane in early May, when she was found dead along with two other adults.
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After the clue was found, more than a hundred soldiers were “on the trail” of the children with the help of sniffer dogs, giving them hope that the unthinkable was possible.
Four minors, aged thirteen, nine and four, and an 11-month-old baby survived more than 15 days of wandering in the virgin forest between the Kaqueta sector where the plane was found. On Monday his nose was crushed vertically into the ground in thick vegetation, and the nose of Guerrier, south of Columbia.
The Cessna 206 disappeared from radar near San Jose del Guerrero on May 1.
The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. According to Civil Defense, the pilot had reported engine trouble before the plane disappeared from radar.
Officials initially announced that the plane had been found with the pilot’s lifeless body, but there was no sign of the six passengers around. Later on Tuesday they announced that they had found the body of the mother and a third person. According to local media, the latter was the head of the Uitoto community, a tribe belonging to other travelers.
Missing children from same siblings.
Dense and dangerous forest
Many gray areas are events that unfold after the accident.
The forest is very dense and dangerous especially in this remote area. The search operation was particularly difficult due to wild animals, 40 meter tall trees and heavy rain.
But on Tuesday, officials discovered they had personal effects, as well as partially eaten fruit. And a bottle near the device.
Rescue teams found a “makeshift shelter made of sticks and branches”, keeping hope alive for at least one survivor.
Photos provided to the press showed scissors and a tag that appeared to be a hair band, new clues that helped guide rescuers.
The Air Force joined the relief operation called “HOPE” with three helicopters. In one of these devices, a loudspeaker “capable of covering an area of about 1,500 meters” broadcast a message recorded by the children’s grandmother.
In the Uitoto language, the woman told her grandchildren that she needed them and asked them to stay where they were so rescuers could find them.
Officials have not released a reason for the family’s flight. But residents of the difficult-to-navigate region, especially due to the lack of roads, are often forced to travel by small planes.
According to Colombia’s National Indigenous Organization (ONIC), the Uitoto live “in harmony” in the forest and maintain traditions such as hunting, fishing and gathering wild fruits.